Review and photos: Blink-182, Fall Out Boy rock a sold-out Ford Amphitheatre
Cover your ears, punk purists, because you won't like what you're about to hear.
I'll pause while you quietly fume in your Stiff Little Fingers T-shirt. And while you're doing that, I'll tell you that a sold-out crowd of 20,000 packed into Tampa's Ford Amphitheatre Sunday night to watch Fall Out Boy and Blink-182 rip through pop-punk hit after pop-punk hit.
And really, as big as Fall Out Boy is these days, pretty much everyone there was there for the reunited Blink -- Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker -- whose blockbuster reunion tour has proven just how many fans still have the urge to hop into the pit and laugh at scat and wee-wee humor.
Most of the crowd at Sunday's show looked to be under 35, and no doubt many saw Blink-182 back when they were just a trio of young groms hopping it up at Jannus Landing in the mid-'90s.This was a wholly different experience. There was both a sense of nostalgia at play (the band hasn't played Tampa Bay since about 2002) and a little bit of gratitude simply for the opportunity to see them again (Barker famously survived a plane crash in 2008, and was a good friend of and collaborator with the late DJ AM).
But then, that might be taking the band too seriously. And as the rubberfaced, booty-wagging DeLonge would no doubt remind you, Blink's music is supposed to be all about shameless fun.
"I don't know if you guys can keep sex out of the pit area," he said, "it's so hot."
Fall Out Boy, with their synths and hoodies and oh-so-cute wordplay, are the template for the modern young punks who aspire to sign with Fueled By Ramen. When they took the stage to the strains of Sugar, We're Going Down, then launched into Thriller (no, not that one), their energy was on full display.
Now, as it happens, Fall Out Boy was in Tampa all week before the Super Bowl, and I caught two of their shows (see here and here), so this was the third time I've seen them this year. And I gotta say: Sunday's show was a little weak. Singer Patrick Stump's voice sounded a little off all set, and the band's overall energy was up and down. At one point, they brought out resident circus freak Dirty to down a half-dozen beers and upchuck onstage. Nice.
They made up for it toward the end, with crowd-pleasers I Don't Care, Dance Dance and a pretty outstanding cover of Journey's Don't Stop Believing. Not a seated butt in the house for that one.
Then came Blink. Let's see: They hit the height of their popularity in 1999, but haven't toured together since 2004. So seeing the three of them live onstage is sort of like seeing the American Pie cast reunite for a one-night performance. A lot of people might find that not terribly culturally significant, but not this crowd.
Blink made sure to play to their strengths. Right of the bat, within the first 10 minutes of the show, they played three straight singles -- I'm Feeling This, The Rock Show and What's My Age Again? You had to admire their bravado, that's for sure.
I never saw the band as young men, but they hopped and skipped and did splits around the stage as though they hadn't lost much of their vigor (although they did complain about the muggy Florida night). DeLonge licked the mic and did splits, and Hoppus took an inflatable phallus from a fan and propped it up next to the band's onstage rabbit mascot. (What's their age again?)
Over the course of 20 songs, DeLonge's loogie-hocking sneer and Hoppus's monotone tenor complemented each other just as well Sunday on tracks like All The Small Things and Josie as they did back in the mid- to late-'90s. So many fans sang along to so many songs. So much fun.
Always a world-class drummer, Barker gave the crowd its biggest "Holy crap!" moment of the night when, at the onset of the encore, he boarded a moving drum riser that hovered and floated some 20 feet off the stage, tilting and swaying like a UFO, for a massive drum solo. Just crazy. By the time the band closed with Dammit, the crowd was just in a free-for-all, hopping and dancing all over each other.
Before Blink and FOB were the All American Rejects, who have a sneakily impressive roster of hits: Move Along, Dirty Little Secret, Swing Swing and Gives You Hell. More impressive than that, though, was the fact that singer Tyson Ritter came out in silver body paint ... and a friggin' wheelchair, thanks to recent surgery on his leg that fans are speculating is related to a tumor. A fan wheeled him around, but he also stood a few times and played a guitar. And despite whatever pain he was in, he sounded fierce and fantastic. Kudos to him.
Opening the show was white-boy rapper Asher "I Love College" Roth, who looks super-goofy but probably has a long career of spring-break concerts ahead of him. I missed his set, but the guy sitting next to me said Roth reminded him of Snow. I somehow doubt Asher Roth will have a big influence on the next generation of musicians out there.
But then again, people probably said that about Blink-182 and Fall Out Boy at some point. And look at where we are today.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*. Photos by Luis Santana, tbt*.